Last week was full of emotion. I already shared part of the story. There is a piece I left out. Through the sadness and joy of last week, I also read One Thousand Gifts, a heartfelt and emotional journey of one woman discovering joy in giving thanks for ordinary, everyday life. As I cried over intimate descriptions of mothers losing children, cradling death in their arms, I could not help but think of those I know who have lost children, close friends, my sister. My mind drifted to my Uncle, who held my aunt as she lost their unborn baby, and he nearly lost her in the process. Next morning, I drove down icy roads, the cold air making me gasp as I got out of the car. Walking across the parking lot, I could see my breath, heavy in the air, lingering about my face. I stood in a dark, cold church with my children while we read the words of the Gospel, standing vigil over one who no longer inhaled the life of this world. I came home to a blinking light on the answering machine. A message from my mom, I could hear the fear in her voice. I called back, knowing in my gut something was wrong. My cousin, oldest son of that same Uncle, was in the ICU. He couldn't breathe. My mind flashed to Ann's post about her niece, tiny newborn, struggling to breathe. My cousin is far from the frail and delicate girl swaddled in pink. He is a full grown man of 20, tall, handsome, dark hair and eyes, hands full of strength, body full of life. Then suddenly, he is as weak and frail as that tiny infant, he too is unable to inhale and exhale on his own, requires a machine to force oxygen in and out of his lungs, someone else must breathe for him. Unaware, unseeing, and everyone around him searching for answers.
I have been their once myself, in a strange hotel room, in a far away city, holding a toddler as she struggled for breath. My husband stood outside on a little fenced ledge from our second story window, not intended to be a balcony, and let the icy cold air help to calm her gasping, as she tried to get enough oxygen. I cradled her lethargic body in my arms while he searched an unfamiliar town at 2 in the morning for a drug store still open, to get the prescription needed to restore breath to her. Thankfully that was no more than an hour of watching our little one struggle, it was a small taste of the fear, nothing compared to this. It has been nearly a week now since he collapsed, and the infection coursing through his body is discovered, as doctors try to bring life and breath back to his body.
Family takes turns, watching over him, praying for him, waiting for answers. Several times a day my little girls come to me, asking for a candle to be lit, asking to say a prayer for this young man. And I am reminded of how fragile life is. We are all sick, filled inside with a dark ugly infection, and we never know what moment will be our collapse. That breath of life, first breathed into Adam at the beginning of time by the I AM, each of us holds in us. I pray that the one true Physician give me the gift of learning to breathe, and ask all of you to please pray that He will return the gift of breath to my loved one.
"Behold, the Lord will pass by, and before the Lord, a great and powerful wind will be rending the mountains and shattering the rocks; but the Lord will not be in the wind. After the wind, an earthquake, but the Lord will not be in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there will be a fire, but the Lord will not be in the fire. After the fire, there will be a sound of a gentle breeze, and the Lord will be there."
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she may help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:40-42